U.S.S.R.

The formal name of the Soviet Union is the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics (USSR). The first republics were established shortly after the October Revolution of 1917. At that time they were still independent of each other. In 1922 four republics came together to form the Soviet Union. During World War II, the Soviet Union consisted of the Russian SFSR and the Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Uzbek, Turkmen, Tajik, Kazakh, Georgian, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyz, Armenian, Lithuanian, Moldavian, Latvian, Estonian and Karelo-Finnish SSR. The Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991.

In 1936 during the Spanish Civil War, Soviet troops fought on the Republican side. In May 1939 a force of Soviet and Mongolian troops attacked the Japanese Kwantung Army in the Battle of Khalkhin-Gol (a river in Manchuria). This battle was won by the Soviet and Mongolian troops. In September 1939 the Soviet Union really became involved in World War II when she invaded Poland. This took place shortly after signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the German-Soviet non-agression pact, in which the capture of the Baltic States, Finland and parts of Romania by the Soviet Union was laid down. All these countries were invaded, but the invasion of Finland in November 1939 didn’t proceed according to plan. The Soviet Union suffered terrible losses. In March 1940 the two countries signed a peace treaty.

In June 1941 Germany broke her non-agression pact with the Soviet Union, invading the country together with her allies (operation Barbarossa). Finnland also declared war on the Soviet Union. The war against the Axis powers was a struggle for survival and was soon called the "Great Patriotic War". The Germans and their allies advanced swiftly and had reached Leningrad, Moscow and Rostov by the end of 1941, but didn’t succeed in capturing these cities. Near Moscow, the Soviets launched a massive counter-offensive. In 1942, the Germans launched a new offensive in the southern sector of the Eastern Front. Stalingrad was reached, but the capture of the city eluded them. The Soviets surrounded and annihilated the Axis forces, but suffered terrible losses. Yet it meant a turning point in the war. The last large scale German offensive took place in July 1943 near Kursk, but this battle also ended in a Soviet victory. As of that moment the Soviet Union slowly recaptured her territory and finally entered Germany. In May 1945, Berlin was captured and the German capitulation was signed. Three months later Soviet troops invaded the Japanese Province of Manchuria. A week later the war was over.

The awards

The first Soviet Award was the Order of the Red Banner, based on the Order of the Red Banner of the Russian Federation from 1918. The order was instituted on 1 August 1924 by the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR and the first pieces were produced in 1930. The statute for the order was not established until 1932. In the 30’s more Soviet orders were instituted, including the well-known Order of Lenin and the Order of the Red Star. Five Soviet orders had, until 19 June 1943, a screwback with a ring to attach the award to the uniform. The four other orders had a rectangular suspension with a red ribbon. The suspensions had a screwback. The Order of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner, Order of the Red Banner of Labor, Order of the Red Star en Order of the Badge of Honor were worn on the left breast. The four other orders were worn on the right breast.

The first Soviet Medal was the Jubilee Medal for 20 years Red Army. It was instituted on 24 January 1938 and had, together with a number of other medals, a rectangular suspension with a red ribbon, until 19 juni 1943. The suspension had a screwback. Other medals had a five-sided suspension with a pinback. All medals were worn on the left breast.

19 juni 1943 is an important date in the history of Soviet awards. The following changes in the regulations were adopted at this date:

- Four awards got a five-sided suspension to replace the screwback (Order of the Red Banner, Order of the Red Banner of Labor, Order of Lenin and Order of the Badge of Honor).

- Three awards got a five-sided suspension to replace the rectangular one (among others the Medal for Bravery and Medal for Military Merit).

- Two awards got a five-sided suspension to replace the triangular one (Medal for Valiant Labor and Medal for Distinguished Labor).

- Four awards got a screwback to replace the rectangular suspension (Order of the Patriotic War, Order of Suvurov, Order of Kutuzov and Order of Aleksandr Nevsky).

- Two awards got a flatter rectangular suspension (Medal of the Gold Star and Medal of the Sickle and Hammer).

- The position of the awards on the breast was changed also. Until 19 June 1943, five orders were worn on the left breast and four on the right breast. After the regulation changes, all orders with a screwback were worn in the right breast and all orders without on the left breast. All medals were worn on the left breast, both before and after the regulation changes.

- The use of ribbons was adopted.

As of 4 June 1944 the Order of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner, Order of the Red Star and Medal for Military Merit could be awarded in recognition of long service. Finally the Soviets realised that this devaluated the awards tremendously. On 14 September 1957 this practice was abolished and special long service medals were instituted.

Below is the order of wearing of Soviet awards (the list contains the orders and medals that were awarded during World War II and the post-war Orders and medals somehow related to World War II). The different classes of an award are listed together, although the Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 1st and 2nd Class for example were worn after the Order of Nakhimov 1st and 2nd Class respectively. The Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 3rd Class was worn directly after the Order of Kutuzov 3rd Class.

This is also the order of wearing the ribbons of these awards. For the Medal of the Gold Star and Medal of the Sickle and Hammer no ribbons existed; these were always worn in full, before the other ribbons. The civilian Order of Mother Heroine, Order of Maternal Glory and the Motherhood Medal also didn’t have ribbons.


Medal of the Gold Star - Hero of the Soviet Union (Medal "Zolotaya Zvezda" - Geroi Sovetskogo Soyuza)
Medal of the Sickle and Hammer - Hero of Socialist Labor (Medal "Serp i Molot" - Geroi Sotsialisticheskogo Truda)
Order of Victory (Orden "Pobeda")
Order of Lenin (Orden Lenina)
Order of the Red Banner (Orden Krasnogo Znameni)
Order of the Red Banner of Labor (Orden Trudovogo Krasnogo Znameni)
Order of Suvorov 1st Class (Orden Suvorova I)
Order of Suvorov 2nd Class (Orden Suvorova II)
Order of Suvorov 3rd Class (Orden Suvorova III)
Order of Ushakov 1st Class (Orden Ushakova I)
Order of Ushakov 2nd Class (Orden Ushakova II)
Order of Kutuzov 1st Class (Orden Kutuzova I)
Order of Kutuzov 2nd Class (Orden Kutuzova II)
Order of Kutuzov 3rd Class (Orden Kutuzova III)
Order of Nakhimov 1st Class (Orden Nakhimova I)
Order of Nakhimov 2nd Class (Orden Nakhimova II)
Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 1st Class (Orden Bogdana Khmelnitskogo I)
Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 2nd Class (Orden Bogdana Khmelnitskogo II)
Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 3rd Class (Orden Bogdana Khmelnitskogo III)
Order of Aleksandr Nevsky (Orden Aleksandra Nevskogo)
Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class (Orden Otechestvennoi voiny I)
Order of the Patriotic War 2nd Class (Orden Otechestvennoi voiny II)
Order of the Red Star (Orden Krasnoi Zvezdy)
Order of the Badge of Honor (Orden "Znak Pocheta")
Order of Glory 1st Class (Orden Slavy I)
Order of Glory 2nd Class (Orden Slavy II)
Order of Glory 3rd Class (Orden Slavy III)

Medal for Bravery (Medal "Za otvagu” )
Medal of Ushakov (Medal Ushakova)
Medal for Military Merit (Medal "Za boyeviye zaslugi")
Medal of Nakhimov (Medal Nakhimova)
Medal for Valiant Labor (Medal "Za trudovuyu doblest")
Medal for Distinguished Labor (Medal "Za trudovoye otlichiye")
Medal to the Partisan of the Patriotic War 1st Class (Medal "Partizanu Otechestvennoi voiny" I)
Medal to the Partisan of the Patriotic War 2nd Class (Medal "Partizanu Otechestvennoi voiny" II)
Medal for the Defense of Leningrad (Medal "Za oboronu Leningrada")
Medal for the Defense of Moscow (Medal "Za oboronu Moskvy")
Medal for the Defense of Odessa (Medal "Za oboronu Odessy" )
Medal for the Defense of Sevastopol (Medal "Za oboronu Sevastopolya")
Medal for the Defense of Stalingrad (Medal "Za oboronu Stalingrada")
Medal for the Defense of Kiev (Medal "Za oboronu Kieva")
Medal for the Defense of the Caucasus (Medal "Za oboronu Kavkaza")
Medal for the Defense of the Soviet Polar Region (Medal "Za oboronu Sovetskogo Zapolyarya")
Medal for the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 (Medal "Za pobedu nad Germaniei v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine 1941-1945")
Jubilee Medal for 20 years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 (Yubileinaya medal "20 let pobedy v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine 1941-1945")
Jubilee Medal for 30 years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 (Yubileinaya medal "30 let pobedy v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine 1941-1945")
Jubilee Medal for 40 years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 (Yubileinaya medal "40 let pobedy v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine 1941-1945")
Medal for the Victory over Japan (Medal "Za pobedu nad Yaponiei")
Medal for the Capture of Budapest (Medal "Za vzyatiye Budapeshta")
Medal for the Capture of Königsberg (Medal "Za vzyatiye Kenigsberga")
Medal for the Capture of Vienna (Medal "Za vzyatiye Veny")
Medal for the Capture of Berlin (Medal "Za vzyatiye Berlina")
Medal for the Liberation of Belgrade (Medal "Za osvobozhdeniye Belgrada")
Medal for the Liberation of Warsaw (Medal "Za osvobozhdeniye Varshavy")
Medal for the Liberation of Prague (Medal "Za osvobozhdeniye Pragi")
Medal for Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 (Medal "Za doblestny trud v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine 1941-1945")
Medal for the Veteran of Labor (Medal "Veteran truda")
Medal for the Restoration of the Ferrous Metallurgical Enterprises in the South (Medal "Za vosstanovleniye predpriaty chernoi metallurgy yuga")
Medal for the Restoration of the Donbass Coal Mines (Medal "Za vosstanovleniye ugolnykh shakht Donbassa")
Medal as Remembrance to 250 years Leningrad (Medal "V pamyat 250-letia Leningrada")
Medal as Remembrance to 1500 years Kiev (Medal "V pamyat 1500-letia Kieva")

Highest Decorations

Medal "Zolotaya Zvezda" (Geroi Sovetskogo Soyuza)Medal of the Gold Star (Hero of the Soviet Union)
In the database: 532
Issued:11144
Medal "Serp i Molot" (Geroi Sotsialisticheskogo Truda)Medal of the Sickle and Hammer (Hero of Socialist Labor)
In the database: 33
Issued:unknown

Orders

Orden PobedaOrder of Victory
In the database: 20
Issued:20
Orden LeninaOrder of Lenin
In the database: 764
Issued:unknown
Orden Krasnogo ZnameniOrder of the Red Banner
In the database: 740
Issued:unknown
Orden Aleksandra NevskogoOrder of Aleksandr Nevsky
In the database: 62
Issued:unknown
Orden Otechestvennoi voiny 1Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class
In the database: 276
Issued:unknown
Orden Otechestvennoi voiny 2Order of the Patriotic War 2nd Class
In the database: 109
Issued:unknown
Orden Trudovogo Krasnogo ZnameniOrder of the Red Banner of Labor
In the database: 23
Issued:unknown
Orden Krasnoi ZvezdyOrder of the Red Star
In the database: 261
Issued:unknown
Orden Znak PochetaOrder of the Badge of Honor
In the database: 8
Issued:unknown
Orden Slavy 1Order of Glory 1st Class
In the database: 15
Issued:unknown
Orden Slavy 2Order of Glory 2nd Class
In the database: 17
Issued:unknown
Orden Slavy 3Order of Glory 3rd Class
In the database: 37
Issued:unknown

Medals for Merit and Bravery (Not Orders)

Medal UshakovaMedal of Ushakov
In the database: 2
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za otvagu"Medal for Bravery
In the database: 43
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za boyeviye zaslugi"Medal for Military Merit
In the database: 46
Issued:unknown

Campaign and Service Awards

Medal "Za oboronu Odessy"Medal for the Defense of Odessa
In the database: 9
Issued:38000
Medal "Za oboronu Sevastopolya"Medal for the Defense of Sevastopol
In the database: 12
Issued:52540
Medal "Za oboronu Sovetskogo Zapolyarya"Medal for the Defense of the Soviet Polar Region
In the database: 5
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za oboronu Kavkaza"Medal for the Defense of the Caucasus
In the database: 26
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za oboronu Kieva"Medal for the Defense of Kiev
In the database: 5
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za oboronu Leningrada"Medal for the Defense of Leningrad
In the database: 40
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za oboronu Moskvy"Medal for the Defense of Moscow
In the database: 43
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za oboronu Stalingrada"Medal for the Defense of Stalingrad
In the database: 47
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za vzyatiye Veny"Medal for the Capture of Vienna
In the database: 6
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za vzyatiye Budapeshta"Medal for the Capture of Budapest
In the database: 8
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za vzyatiye Kyonigsberga"Medal for the Capture of Koenigsberg
In the database: 10
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za vzyatiye Berlina"Medal for the Capture of Berlin
In the database: 33
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za osvobozhdeniye Belgrada"Medal for the Liberation of Belgrade
In the database: 4
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za osvobozhdeniye Pragi"Medal for the Liberation of Prague
In the database: 17
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za osvobozhdeniye Varshavy"Medal for the Liberation of Warsaw
In the database: 11
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za pobedu nad Germaniei v Velikoi Otechestevennoi voine 1941-1945"Medal for the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945
In the database: 200
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za pobedu nad Yaponiei"Medal for the Victory over Japan
In the database: 18
Issued:unknown

Commemorative- / Jubileemedals

Medal "Veteran Vooruzhonnykh Sil SSSR"Medal "Veteran of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
In the database: 2
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za bezuprechnuyu sluzhbu"Medal "For Impeccable Service"
In the database: 3
Issued:unknown
Pochotnyy sotrudnik gosbezopasnostiHonorary member of the NKVD
In the database: 1
Issued:unknown
Yubileinaya medal "20 let pobedy v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine 1941-1945"Jubilee Medal for 20 years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945
In the database: 60
Issued:unknown
Yubileinaya medal "30 let pobedy v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine 1941-1945"Jubilee Medal for 30 years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945
In the database: 38
Issued:unknown
Yubileinaya medal "40 let pobedy v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine 1941-1945"Jubilee Medal for 40 years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945
In the database: 18
Issued:unknown

Civilian Decorations

Medal "Za trudovuju doblest"Medal for Valiant Labor
In the database: 3
Issued:unknown
Stalin PriceIn the database: 10
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za trudovoye otlichiye"Medal for Distinguished Labor
In the database: 3
Issued:unknown
Medal "V pamjat 1500-letia Kieva"Medal as Remembrance to 1500 years Kiev
In the database: 1
Issued:unknown
Medal "V pamjat 250-letia Leningrada"Medal as Remembrance to 250 years Leningrad
In the database: 6
Issued:unknown
Medal "Za doblestny trud v Velikoi Otechestvennoi voine 1941-1945"Medal for Valiant Labor in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945
In the database: 19
Issued:unknown
Medal "Veteran Truda"Medal to the Veteran of Labor
In the database: 3
Issued:unknown

Rank Insignia Common

Marshalskaya ZvezdaMarshal's Star
In the database: 16
Issued:17

Insignia

Znak "Otlichny snaiper"Excellent Sniper Badge
In the database: 1
Issued:unknown
Znak "Otlichny podvodnik"Excellent Submariner Badge
In the database: 1
Issued:unknown
Znak "25 let Pobedy"Badge for 25 years of Victory
In the database: 2
Issued:unknown
Parachutist BadgeIn the database: 2
Issued:unknown
Znak RaneniyaCombat Injury Badge
In the database: 17
Issued:unknown
Znak "Otlichnik RKKA"Excellence in the Red Army badge
In the database: 1
Issued:unknown
Znak PilotIn the database: 6
Issued:unknown
Znak "Gvardia"Guards Badge
In the database: 231
Issued:unknown
Znak Otlichny "Artillerist"Excellent Artillerist Badge
In the database: 1
Issued:unknown